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Unable to take hormone-based birth control? What suggestions for contraception do your OB/GYN's offer?

By October 18, 2009 - 11:50pm
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For several years I suffered horrible side-effects from birth control pills and then finally the NuvaRing, which was my last attempt with this method. Living in a major city that attracts the 'best and brightest' health care professionals, I have seen top-notch Ob/Gyns, yet none of them were ever able to provide information on natural alternatives for family planning. As a married woman over 30 years old, I found this rather odd considering that I was willing to take full responsibility and expedience and efficiency was not my goal. I was desperate for a natural, hormone-free method in fact. Not one physician offered advice on NFP or FAM.

I am curious to know if other women have had this same experience, and if so, how did they handle the situation.

Add a Comment7 Comments

Regarding the beads, they let you know which days you can have sex w/out worrying about pregnancy & which days you should use condoms or not have intercourse. (Though you can do other stuff :) Personally, I don't like messing with my cycle & they are a great fit. I wouldn't call it playing with beads, although they are cool to use. Plus, I like the fact I'm having a period every month - I'd feel bionic if I didn't. To each their own.

May 15, 2011 - 11:14am
(reply to RL)

The cycle beads can be a great option, but please know that you can not use them on certain days "without worrying about pregnancy" as you said. There are days in your cycle that it is less likely that a woman is fertile, but there are no 100% safe days to have sex "without worry of pregnancy".

There are hormone-free birth control options available, including many barrier methods (including: diaphragm, cervical cap, female condom, male condom) that can be used on days that you are more likely to be fertile (before, during or after ovulation).

May 15, 2011 - 11:30am
(reply to Alison Beaver)

Hi Alison,
Absolutely! They are about 95% effective, not 100% effective & I use them in conjunction with condoms on days I'm highly likely to be ovulating & fertile. Thanks :)

May 15, 2011 - 1:47pm
(reply to RL)

Unfortunately, cycle beads are closer to 88% effectiveness rate with typical use. They are up to 95% effective with "perfect use", but many women are unable to use some of the family planning methods with perfect use. It, of course, can be done...there is just a lot of user error with this method, and a highly motivated person would need to consider the pros/cons of this method.

I think this is a wonderful option, please don't get me wrong, I just want to make sure women are receiving the accurate information about the effectiveness rate. Family planning methods do not have as high effectiveness rates as other hormonal or barrier contraception methods, but it does work VERY successfully for MANY women!

Do you happen to know: are there "types" of women that family planning works better for, compared to others? No stereotypes...I truly am interested in research if there are higher success rates for women who are older vs. younger, long-term vs. short-term relationship, monogamous vs. non-monogamous, etc. Any data on effectiveness rates in regards to specific groups of women (instead of lumping all women into one category...as each stage of life does require different types of birth control). Thanks!

May 15, 2011 - 9:08pm

The beads sound like a good idea, but every conception calendar says not to use them for days to avoid having sex. You can get pregnant if you have sex up to 5 days before you ovulate. If I were you, I would ask about the Progesterone Only Pills. I have an abnormally high level of estrogen all the time. So the added estrogen in the birth control makes me very ill. It's basically an overdose. The Progesterone Only Pills don't fight me the same way. I was also on the Depo shot, though I wouldn't recomend it if you want to have kids in the future, as it thins out your uteren lining and makes it hard to get pregnant. Other than that, it was great. I never got my period after the second shot and you only have to remember it every 3 months, instead of every month while you're playing with beads.

May 14, 2011 - 9:00am

Hi there,

I second Brock's suggestion for Natural Family Planning. My doctor did not offer much in the way of NFP. However, Planned Parenthood did. Surprising, yeah? They have an entire array of methods & I think they are more receptive to women deciding rather than pushing a decision on them. That's what I've personally noticed anyhow.

Here's another idea to check out: CycleBeads - which are a color coded string of beads that tracks your menstrual cycle. They sound ridiculously simple - they are - but they are over 95% effective & don't require any more effort than taking the pill - no temp. taking, no charting, no mucus checking, etc. It definitely takes away any guessing as to when you should & shouldn't have intercourse. There's also an iCycleBead iPhone app! I use this & it's incredibly easy - You enter the date of your period & a calendar of your fertile & infertile days pops up so you know which days are "safe" and which days require protection.

May 13, 2011 - 6:01pm

Hey eres. With your problems, why not give NFP a shot? If done correctly, it has a succes rate of 80 to 99 percent. As high as barrier methods. All it take is discipline and patience.

One I would reccomend is the temperature technique. Take your temperature daily the first thing after waking up in the morning. I recommend using a basal thermometer, available at all pharmacies, even some supermarkets. Take your temp at the same spot regularly- mouth or armpit. When you're ovulating, you will notice a slight increase in temperature. Avoid sex for at least two days after this. Near the middle of the menstrual cycle, the temperature might drop slightly and then rise quickly, continuing to do so for the next three days. Your temp won't go back to its usual until your period starts. The 'safe' days to have sex are from four days after the sudden rise in temperature until three or four days after the end of the period.

(Link to website removed by moderator according to EmpowHer.com anti-solicitation policy.)

October 19, 2009 - 10:11pm
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